The Whoscored Team of the Year features only three Liverpool players, despite their Premier League domination.
Whoscored use statistics to assign ratings for each player in every game. Score a hat-trick? You’ll get a high score out of ten. Constantly winning tackles? You’ll get a good rating.
Make mistakes or fail to affect games, however, and that rating will slip.
So for their Premier League Team of the Year, Whoscored take the best average rating for each position. It leaves an XI that lacks any bias – but also opinion and judgement. This is purely statistical and throws up some interesting ‘choices’ as a result.
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The first thing to catch your eye is that there are only three Liverpool players – and none of them are Trent Alexander-Arnold. Instead, Whoscored’s system deduces that Leicester City’s Ricardo Pereira is the league’s best right-back. In fact, Pereira has the best average rating of any defender.
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That’s despite Alexander-Arnold equalling his own Premier League record for assists.
Two Reds defenders do make the side, though. Virgil van Dijk, naturally, as well as Andy Robertson. Few would argue that they’re the best in their respective positions.
As for the midfield, Sadio Mane finds his way to a spot on the left as the last Liverpool player in the side. He’d probably be the one you’d pick, in all honesty, and is a shout for Player of the Year.
The absence of Liverpool players highlights two things. Firstly, this isn’t necessarily the best way to do a Team of the Year. There’s a clear bias towards attacking midfielders, for instance, meaning that Liverpool’s functional midfielders were never going to feature.
But it also shows off how Liverpool’s dominance was a team effort. It wasn’t carried by star individual performances but done through consistent team showings.
This certainly wasn’t the same as the 13/14 title bid, with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge dominating things.
And that’s a testament to the mental strength, as much as anything. Liverpool found ways to win even without consistent, reliable individual efforts.